I actually planned out a good (meaning tasty AND healthy) dinner this week and it turned out great! And, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I thought I would share how I made it, in case anyone else is looking for inspiration.
Let’s Roast a Chicken!
Cooking a roasted chicken is something that has always somewhat intimidated me, not to mention the ick factor of dealing with a whole slimy raw chicken. I used to relegate the task to my talented hubs, but I bit the bullet and tackled the whole thing myself. Here’s how it goes.
I get mine at Wegmans, where their everyday price for a ~6lb roasting chickens is .88/lb. This a great deal that is hard to beat.
The Wegmans chickens comes with instructions on the back. I follow them almost exactly, except as noted below.
Preheat oven to 425º.
1. Remove bag of gunk giblets from the body cavity and rinse the chicken inside and out. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Season with spices of your choosing.
We like to use a mixture of cumin, salt and pepper. I don’t do exact measurements, but I combine the spices in a small bowl before rubbing over chicken. I’d guess it’s something like 1.5 tsp cumin, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper.
3. Place chicken breast side DOWN, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
This is where Wegmans and I differ. They say to place it breast side up and keep it up the whole time. Hubs taught me to start with the breast down for the first 15 minutes then flip it. It makes it juicier or something. Also, they say to use a roasting pan with a rack. I just a regular ole 9×13 metal pan and line it with heavy duty foil*. I also spray the foil with cooking spray before putting the bird in.
*UPDATE 12/10/12 — I discovered it works much better to use a silicone baking sheet instead of foil. The skin does not stick to Silpat the way it can with foil.
4. Roast chicken for 20 minutes at 425º. Then flip chicken to breast side up, reduce heat to 350º and continue roasting. Allow ~18-20/lb for an unstuffed bird.
Again, Wegmans would have you keep the breast up the whole time, but this is the point where we flip it. It’s kind of tricky, but can be managed with a spatula and a big ole wooden spoon (See updated note above). My 6lb bird took about 1 hr and 45 minutes (total time), but their instructions said it should take closer to 2 hours. The packaging also notes that cooking time should be increased by 15-20 minutes if the chicken in stuffed and that the stuffing must reach 165º.
5. Check internal temperature by inserting thermometer into the thickest part of inner thigh area where leg connects to the body of the bird, but not touching the bone.
This means, pay no attention to that silly pop-up timer. I’m not even sure why they put those in — mine was done when it was done and the timer never budged.
6. Remove chicken from oven when internal temperature reaches 165º. Let rest 15 minutes before carving for better slicing.
The 15 minutes give me time to run around and finish off the other sides for the meal. Let me tell you, that bird turned out so moist and delicious! I meant to take a picture of it carved up, but got caught up in the madness of getting dinner on the table and forgot. Trust me when I say it looked and tasted great.
As an accompaniment, some of my family loves to eat their chicken dipped in BBQ sauce, others love a mustard sauce my husband makes. Again, the measurements are not exact but he combines equal parts mustard and mayo and then adds a little Worcestershire, paprika and a touch of horseradish sauce. I should have taken a picture, but I forgot.
If you’ve been afraid to bake the bird, I hope this encourages you to try!